Young Hearts Africa – Newsletter 2022 – 1st Edition

“What can one man do?” This clichéd statement is often made, but if that man has a big dream and the drive to realise his dream, then he can change the world.


It has taken 3 long years to bring this dream to fruition but on the 4th of November, Young Hearts Africa and the medical team at the Red-Cross Children’s hospital changed the life of 10-month-old baby KD, who was born with a hole in his heart, and his family forever. He gets to live his life because of the vision, determination and selflessness of one man, Dr Wilhelm Lichtenberg.


Dr Lichtenberg’s dream has finally become a reality! His ultimate goal has been to help preserve Africa’s most precious commodity, her children. He has done this through years of planning and networking to facilitate access to life-saving heart operations for children in Africa who cannot afford it and, by doing this, ultimately eliminate preventable deaths.


It has been Dr Lichtenberg’s mission to create a global awareness of the need for cardiac healthcare services to children in Africa and to develop the Young Hearts Africa Foundation into a successful fundraising vehicle. This has gone a long way in bringing in donations, donations toward a sustainable surgical program in order to fight the 3rd most prevalent killer of young children in Africa, Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).

On the 4th of November 2022, this dream was realised.


To date, we have been fortunate enough to be able to operate 4 little babies between the ages of 6 months 2 years from disadvantaged communities. These two boys and two girls are already back home with their families and are thriving.

We are so excited and deeply grateful to announce that Ampath Laboratories have committed themselves as our key sponsor over the next five years to support us in our ongoing mission to save hundreds of young children’s lives. Ampath are actively dedicated to upholding their status as one of Southern Africa’s foremost pathology laboratories, deeply steeped in the welfare of our citizens.


At the heart of Ampath are values such as integrity, excellence, care and commitment. Not only for their patients and their staff, but also for the society we live in.

Ampath are a proudly South African company and remain committed to building a sustainable organisation which has a positive impact within the healthcare context and more broadly in our society.


But Ampath does not only act in its capacity as one of South Africa’s leading healthcare companies, its staff plays a big role in Ampath’s community involvement. Every year many of Ampath’s laboratory staff spend their free time crocheting blankets for donation to “67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day” in support of those in need. In times of crisis such as the recent droughts and the Knysna fires, Ampath is always ready to assist to donate and raise funds for those most affected.

Young Hearts Africa’s aim is to facilitate 1000 operations in the next 5 years. We can only achieve our objective with your help!

We thank those of you who have already donated so generously. With your donations, no matter the amount, Young Hearts Africa is able to offer medical care to those children and families who need it the most in our communities, the indigent and destitute.


We believe that every child has the right to live a happy and care-free life.  Imagine knowing that your monthly amount, no matter how small, could help ensure that our medical team never has to turn any child away. What a wonderful gift you could give, the gift of life, especially now in the season of giving and receiving.


Please donate now. Every drop helps to fill the bucket!

Young Hearts reaches out globally?


In February 2022 Young Hearts Africa launched its first crowdfunding campaign. Leveraging technology, we were fortunate enough to gather donations from all over the world and we managed to raise just over R 100 000. Although we fell short of our first target, it was encouraging to get such good support and brought us closer to our first successful operation.


At Young Hearts Africa we believe that individual donors are extremely important. In fact, we regard them as the life blood of our operation and we aim to try and grow our individual donor base to 10 000 people by next year. A monthly contribution from each would enable us to do a minimum of 10 additional operations every month. That is 120 little lives saved by Christmas 2023!

Music is a universal language, which connects people across all boundaries and it speaks to creatures of all nature all over the world. It negates perceived differences and allows them to be forgotten and set aside.

Dr Wilhelm Lichtenberg has two passions in his life. His first is his love of medicine and surgery.  Young Hearts Africa was born out of the second, which is a deep love and appreciation of music and all its positive, healing potential.  It is the vehicle by which Young Hearts Africa carries its message to the world and elicits much needed humanitarian aid to assist the most vulnerable and needy in our midst.


Last month saw the release of “Sacred Heart”, the first album in aid of Young Hearts Africa. It is a compilation of 18 sacred pieces, performed by Dr Lichtenberg in collaboration with a selection of South Africa’s finest musical talent. The album is the product of musical genius Riaan Steyn, who is one of our board of directors of YHA. Riaan is the arranger, producer, pianist and organist on the album, in addition to being the supervising recording and sound engineer.

Each track on the album was carefully selected, with a specific theme and a specific story in mind. It has received rave reviews in the media.


The orchestral accompaniment is by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa’s pre-eminent orchestra and guest artists include award winning singer and song writer Stef Bos, the Grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir, popular opera stars Sibongile Mngoma, Brittany Smith and Conroy Scott, Este Gross, award-winning vocalist and radio personality and singer and TV personality Katlego Maboe.


Dr Lichtenberg’s daughter Maria, and science student and herself a classically trained singer, also features on two of the tracks with her father.

A number of the tracks on the album are also dedicated to special people in the doctor’s life.


With the festive season coming up, the SACRED HEART CD, would make the ideal gift, whilst supporting an incredible cause. Priced at R250 and available via our website (, all proceeds raised through CD sales will go toward the funding of our next life-saving operation of a little child in need.


SACRED HEART is also available on all major streaming service and can be downloaded here.

Dr Blanche Cupido is another of YOUNG HEARTS AFRICA’s board members. Dr Cupido is a consultant adult interventional cardiologist who has a special interest in congenital heart disease, cardiac imaging and valvular heart disease at Groote Schuur Hospital.


She graduated from UCT in 2001 and spent 2 years in KwaZulu Natal, completing her internship and community service. After working in the UK for a year, she returned to Groote Schuur Hospital to complete her physician training in 2009 and her cardiology training in 2013. In 2016, she completed a fellowship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Leeds, UK. In 2017, she also completed a Certificate in Advanced Heart Failure Management from the University of Zurich and the European Cardiac Academy. She has returned to Groote Schuur Hospital and established a dedicated Adult Congenital Heart Disease unit and currently works at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT Private Academic Hospital as the Head of Echocardiography and the Clinical Lead for Adult Congenital Heart Disease.


She is currently the President of SA Heart and the African regional representative for the International Society of Adult Congenital Heart Disease. We are very grateful to have her join our board and be part of our team of experts.

Children with congenital heart disease are born with defects in the structure of their hearts. The defects happen very early in pregnancy, when the heart is being formed.


There are many different types of heart defects. The most common type is a hole in the heart. The hole might be between the top chambers of the heart, or between the bottom chambers. Some defects affect the heart valves. For example, the valves might be narrower than normal or cause blood to leak. Less often, children might have blood vessels that are too narrow, or entire parts of their hearts might not have formed properly.


Children who have severe congenital heart disease might have more than one defect in their hearts.


Congenital Heart Disease, (CHD) is an enormous problem in low- and middle-Income countries and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

There are an estimated 500,000 children born in Africa with CHD each year with a major proportion of this in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority of these children receive sub-optimal or no care at all.


The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that 80% of deaths from non-communicable diseases, including CHD, now occur in LMICs (Low-to-Middle-Income Countries). Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1% of live births have CHD accounting for 1.5 million per year.


There have been estimates by the WHO to suggest that 90% of these children have suboptimal or no access to care at all with most of these children concentrated in LMICs, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Individual donations are the backbone of any NGO and with your contribution, you are joining thousands of South Africans who want to help Young Hearts Africa to provide medical care for children with CHD.


There are a few ways you can support us:

Please donate generously and help the children of Africa see a brighter,

healthier future filled with promise and hope

Festive season greetings


With the festive season almost upon us, we’d like to wish you and your family happy holidays from the Young Hearts Africa family. We want to thank you for all the support you have shown us this year and hope that you have a magical festive season filled with love, peace and joy.

– May your New Year be filled with hope, opportunity and success.

Should you have any queries or would like more information about
YOUNG HEARTS AFRICA or be interested in supporting Young Hearts Africa in other ways, please contact us on